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Prescribing during the pandemic

BCCNM recognizes your efforts and challenges in working in a pandemic. If you need more information or wish to speak with someone about a practice concern, please contact one of our Regulatory Practice Consultants.

  • Email
  • 604.742.6200 x8803 (Metro Vancouver)
  • Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 x8803 (within Canada only)

For Controlled Drugs and Substances (CDS) prescribers

Prescribing under the Controlled Prescription Program

Health Canada has introduced regulatory exemptions to improve pharmacological and therapeutic options for allowing patients to access controlled medications during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Precautions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic such as physical distancing, self isolation, and quarantine are impacting clients requiring prescriptions for drugs under the Controlled Prescription Program (CPP). Patients at particular risk are those on opioid medications for chronic pain or those receiving opioid agonist therapy (OAT).

The Ministry of Health, the College of Pharmacists of BC, BCCNP and others are working toward a solution. In these exceptional times, prescribers are asked to ensure their patients have an unbroken supply of these medications. If it is not possible to meet with a patient face-to-face, prescribers should consider alternative means to getting duplicate prescriptions to pharmacies.

Health Canada exemptions

Health Canada has provided temporary exemptions to parts of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) and its Regulations to permit pharmacists to extend prescriptions, transfer prescriptions, and for pharmacists and pharmacy employees to deliver controlled medications, and to permit prescribers to issue verbal orders for controlled medications.

BC Centre on Substance Use

The BC Centre on Substance Use has developed updated clinical guidance for prescribers and pharmacists to improve access to OAT in the context of COVID-19. Visit their website to access these resources.

For Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) prescribers

The BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) has put together guidance for OAT prescribers during the COVID-19 pandemic.